Keeping Momentum in School: Personal tips to succeeding with online school and staying motivated to study in general

Jessica MilitichHello,

This is Jessica Militich, a recent graduate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Colleges are known to be challenging for everyone. But as a student on the autism spectrum, I always had unique challenges with school. Unfortunately, coursework became even more challenging when remote learning was established to protect students from the corona virus.

That said, this past year has been marked by canceled weddings, graduations (my college graduation was cancelled), proms, ceremonies, and other yearly events. School has also changed in unique ways to protect pupils from disease. Everyone has their own challenges and opinions about online or hybrid schooling. Regardless of how one is participating in school these days, there are things we can all do to keep our motivation to study. In this article, I disclose ways I stayed motivated as a college student in lockdown. I also share tips and tricks I have not used, but which sounded helpful online. At the end of this article, I include links to websites with other helpful tips and two YouTubers who inspire me to stay productive.  Now, for my tips:

  1. Work on a schedule:

I find myself more productive when I work on a schedule. On weekdays, I wake up at the same time and write a to-do list for my tasks. Plotting what I need to do each day helps me focus on what needs to be done. Sometimes I make timetables to advance plan my productivity. Timetables keep me accountable for not completing tasks I chose to embark upon in the morning.  If a parent is reading this, I encourage you to allow your child to chose what tasks they want to do today. By letting them choose what to do and when to do it, they will be more likely to complete it. (And per chance, be less angry at their parents for making them work😉) At least I do my best work when I feel in control of my situation.

More information on schedules and timetables:

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Study-Timetable

https://www.tonyrobbins.com/importance-time-management/how-to-plan-your-day/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G65LzVkn3ok

  1. Make learning fun:

School is notorious for boring lectures and extensive homework. However, there are ways to have fun while doing schoolwork. When I had to study for a class I didn’t like, I would do something fun before that class. Shortly thereafter, I would begin studying with an influx of dopamine in my brain and a much happier mood. Being in a positive state of mind helped me have greater patience studying things I didn’t care for.

But everyone is different. I know some people who can’t have fun before doing something they don’t like, because they will feel less interested in completing the task. If you or your child have that challenge, schedule fun things to do as rewards for completing unfavorable subjects. As for myself, I found it easier to study things I didn’t care for when I broke the subject into smaller tasks followed by positive reinforcement.

Education games increase the joy of learning. They can be purchased from the app and Windows stores. Some fun and free learning websites are linked below. Personally, I use the Duo Lingo app to learn Spanish and Hawaiian. Even when I am learning tricky foreign language concepts, the fun animation of this app keeps me motivated.

Math: https://www.coolmath.com/

Foreign Language(s): https://www.duolingo.com/

Reading: https://www.abcmouse.com/abc/?8a08850bc2=T1231070436.1617142166.8236

Other: https://www.funbrain.com/

“What we learn with pleasure, we never forget.” – Alfred Mercier

  1. Study things outside school that interest you:

My favorite way to learn is through self-exploration. Allow yourself or your child to study topics they find interesting. One’s interest in researching anything demonstrates a desire to learn. Learning fun things can help kids develop strategies for researching topics for school. Therefore, the tools students develop from researching fun things can help them in the classroom. Besides, the information a child learns independently just might help them in school, even if that isn’t apparent right now.

“Children require long, uninterrupted periods of play and exploration.”-Jean Piaget

  1. Read for fun:

I have been using my time in lockdown to explore books and authors I’ve always been curious about and have read many books since lockdown began in March 2020. Some of the authors I explored are Jules Verne, Tony Hillerman, J.K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket, Margret Atwood, Jane Austen, and Kerstin Gier. I am mentioning these authors because their books are a great escape from our current world. Hopefully, you or your child will enjoy their books as much as I did.

Reading also provides great mental stimulation. Reading helps children master the rules of grammar, the English language and expand their vocabulary. So, light reading can actually help your child perform well in school.

“I can not live without books.”- Thomas Jefferson

  1. Stay in Motion:

Exercise is a great energy releaser. It also helps people think clearly and enhances productivity. Unfortunately, gyms are closed to protect people from corona virus. Yet there are ways to exercise at home. I have been doing yoga videos on YouTube very irregularly. I can confess to not working out enough in quarantine. But in these uncertain times, any movement is beneficial.

If you can, go on socially distanced walks. You can also do house chores and gardening to get blood flowing! Fortunately, the local park in my neighborhood just opened up and they have a swing set! I have been enjoying swinging because it provides the physical stimulation I need and offers light exercise.

“A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest.”- Sir Isaac Newton

  1. Watch YouTube for studying and productivity inspiration:

Here are some of my favorite YouTubers who motivated me to stay productive.

    1. Ruby Granger, a positive and productive English literature student in the UK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz8f_ZLWLkU
    2. Twirling Pages, a positive eco focused college student in Los Angeles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKCbZZrjTow
    3. Other Information:

https://healthier.stanfordchildrens.org/en/learning-in-the-age-of-covid-19-how-to-help-kids-with-distance-learning/

https://www.learningliftoff.com/online-education-can-help-special-needs-children/

Teaching Special Needs Students Online and At Home